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More about Stratfield Brake

Close to the busy village of Kidlington in Oxfordshire, Stratfield Brake is an oasis of peace that offers visitors a welcome opportunity to unwind. Taking in 18.5ha (45 acres) of young and mature woodland, meadow and wetland, it has 1.5 miles (2.5km) of paths, many of them surfaced – which guarantees dry socks, even during a winter visit. It is the perfect place to take some time to get close to nature and to tune in to the changing seasons.

In spring, the heady scent of bluebells fills the air in the old woodland and you may hear the drumming of great spotted woodpeckers. Its meadows are bright with wild flowers like ragged robin and yellow rattle in summer.

All year round the wetland area attracts all sorts of birds, but winter is a particularly good time to go along with a pair of binoculars. There’s a good chance that you will see mute swan, tufted duck, heron and coot. But if you’re lucky you might spot a rarity, such as a little egret. This small heron is hard to miss as it has plumage that seems whiter than white.

If you like a longer walk, Stratfield Brake is also a good to place to start and finish. A footbridge links it with the towpath of the Oxford Canal which means that you can explore the countryside to the west. Whether you visit to stroll among bluebells, to do some birding or just to walk the dog, you will enjoy Stratfield Brake. However, parts of the wood are currently closed to visitors – see under Access below.

Great Spotted Woodpecker Pholm 0588
Great spotted woodpecker
(Photo: WTML/Pete Holmes

Setting

Stratfield Brake is close to the southern edge of the village of Kidlington and just three miles (5km) north of Oxford. The Oxford Canal forms its western boundary and a footbridge links with the canal towpath.

OS Explorer 170, 171, 180, Landranger 151, 165, 175, SP494119.

Access and walks

There are four entrances to the site. The main entrance is next to the car park at Stratfield Brake sports ground where a surfaced path leads into the wood. There are two

There is a network of 1.5 miles (2.5km) surfaced and unsurfaced paths in Stratfield Brake, which are level and have no width restrictions, but can get muddy in wet weather. An information board at the entrance gives details of the routes.
 
Though parts of Stratfield Brake can be wet in the winter, there are 1.4km (0.9 miles) of hard-surfaced paths which provide all-weather access for the less-abled and buggies throughout the year.

One short loop of surfaced path leads to a bird-watching area overlooking the wetland. There is also access to Stratfield Brake from the Oxford Canal’s towpath by a footbridge at the western end of the site near the wetland area.

A 4.7-mile (7.6km) circular walk using the footbridge and towpath from Stratfield Brake to Yarnton has been developed by local Ramblers for the Canals & Rivers Trust.  For full details visit Canal & River Trust.

Currently, access is restricted to the mature woodland area in response to the presence of a disease called acute oak decline, which affects native oak trees, leading in some cases to their death. The disease poses no threat to either humans or animals, but it may be spread through movement of bacteria picked up on visitors’ shoes and clothing or by vehicles. Therefore, on the advice of Forest Research, the Woodland Trust has temporarily closed Stratfield Brake’s mature woodland area to the public.

We apologise for any inconvenience the closure causes. If you have any queries contact the Trust on 01476 581135.

For more details on acute oak decline, download the Acute Oak Decline information leaflet (PDF, 0.4MB).

Directions

Stratfield Brake is south of Kidlington, near to the Stratfield Brake sports ground. It is about a mile (1.6km) from the centre of the village.

By train
The nearest train station is the new Oxford Parkway, 4.8km  (three miles) away. For further information on public transport, visit traveline or call 0871 200 2233.

By bus
The Oxford Bus Company’s service 2A runs each day from Oxford to Kidlington. For further information visit the Oxford Bus Company or call 01865 785400.

By bike
The Oxford Canal forms Stratfield Brake’s western boundary. There is a footbridge over the canal that links with the canal towpath, which is a popular cycling route linking Kidlington and Oxford.

By car
The entrance to Stratfield Brake Sports Ground is off the north-bound carriageway of the A4260 and is signposted ‘Stratfield Brake Sports Ground’. Look for a small car park (grid ref. SP 497 121) to the left, which has a height barrier. It can accommodate 15 cars (the larger car park near the pavilion is for sports centre users only).

Nearest amenities

Public conveniences
The nearest public toilets are approximately 2km (1.2 miles) away at Watts Way Car Park, just off Kidlington’s High Street. There is a small charge. Disabled units are free to radar key users.

Refreshments
Kidlington has a variety of shops, cafes, pubs and other amenities. Visit TripAdvisor for suggestions.

Accommodation and tourist Information
For information about the area, including accommodation, go to the Visit North Oxfordshire website Visit North Oxfordshire or phone 01865 378479.

Entry into our woods is free but please donate now to help us care for them.